News

2016.04.04 10:23

Lithuanian-speaking Afghan refugee seeks asylum in Lithuania

Algirdas Acus2016.04.04 10:23

On Friday, Lithuania promised to admit the refugee stuck in Greece, after receiving his address on Youtube explaining he worked as an interpreter for Lithuanian troops in Afghanistan.

On Friday, Lithuania promised to admit the refugee stuck in Greece, after receiving his address on Youtube explaining he worked as an interpreter for Lithuanian troops in Afghanistan.

Basir Yousofy worked with Lithuanian troops who led a reconstruction mission in the Ghor Province since 2005. That’s how he managed to learn Lithuanian and became an interpreter.

However, after Lithuanian soldiers working under NATO mission withdrew from Afghanistan in 2013, the situation in Ghor became complicated, and Basir, due to his previous work for NATO structures, had been receiving death threat letters from the Taliban.

Basir decided to leave the country and ask for asylum in Lithuania. As a result, he ended in a refugee camp near Greece and Macedonian border.

There he has been interviewed by journalist Josh Friedman who recorded Basir's address in Lithuanian, added English subtitles and posted the video on Youtube with the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhGRM...

In the video, Basir asks the Lithuanian President and the Lithuanian people ‘to help him get out of here and get to Lithuania.'

Several officers from the Lithuanian Army and Ministry of Defence recognized Basir, so the Government came up with the initiative to allow him arrive in Lithuania. What he needs now, is to get a flight from Athens.

Basir has left his family behind and hopes to bring it later to Lithuania. He says if he were allowed to come to the Baltic state, he would like to open a hotel or work in a kitchen.

Under the EU agreement, Lithuania still has to admit around 1000 refugees from Greece and Italy. As yet, only a few Iraqi refugees have been already reallocated and several were taken from Northern Iraq last year by the Catholic charity organisation ‘Caritas’.

SHOTLIST

Officer from Ministry of Defence who worked in Afghanistan watches Basir's address on Youtube.

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

EUGENIJUS VAICEKAUSKAS, Representative of the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence:
These are Lithuanian soldiers in the photo.
Reporter asks if the guy next to them is Basir.
Yes.

Cutaway

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

EUGENIJUS VAICEKAUSKAS, Representative of the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence:
He served as a link between the locals and our soldiers. Due to his effort the relationship between local people and our troops was really good and based on mutual understanding.

Cutaway

Looking at Diploma given to Basir

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

EUGENIJUS VAICEKAUSKAS, Representative of the Lithuanian Ministry of Defense:
And one thing more: if we would point to him a mistake he made while translating, he would never  make such mistake again.

Archive 2013, Lithuanian soldiers in Ghor province, Afghanistan

Sound bite (Lithuanian)

EUGENIJUS VAICEKAUSKAS, Representative of the Lithuanian Ministry of Defence:
It is quite common that people receive threatening letters, but it is difficult to say if always those threats turn into actions.

Archive 2013, Lithuanian soldiers in Ghor province, Afghanistan

Sound bite (Lithuanian)